After assessing Gavin’s progress at school with the extended hours program, I’ve decided to cut back to the half day program. My hope that he would follow the herd by eating better and sleeping more regularly during the afternoons does not appear to happening. Although he did nap a couple of times at school, he usually stays up while the other children sleep. According to the teachers, he is still rejecting the food they serve at school except for what I pack for him to eat at school.
So instead of trying to flog a dead horse, I’ve decided to try a few new things. We’ll keep the half day school program. Since he obviously prefers to skip the afternoon nap, I’ve decided to start my own afternoon program with him. We’ll visit the National Museum and other places that I had planned to take him to see but never got around to it because I got pregnant with Gareth and got too tired to go, and finish our tour of the Petrosains Discovery Center that we never completed.
I’ve also decided to start him on a Right Brain Training program called Henguru which I heard about from one of my readers. Based on what I have seen, it looks pretty much like the Shichida Method. The idea is to stimulate the right brain, which is most active from birth to about six years of age, to help develop photographic memory, speed reading skills, analytical skills, innovative and creative skills, and sensitivity to the needs of others. It is said that after the first six years, the left brain begins to dominate.
Hubby and I have always agreed that we don’t want the boys to be bogged down with intense academic programs and loads of homework. We believe they should have an all-rounded education and a balanced lifestyle. We don’t want them to study at school, then rush off to tuition classes and come home with a tonne of homework everyday. We want them to learn to be street smart. At the end of the day, success in the real world isn’t necessarily how well you do at school and what you can learn at school. It is the sum of your experiences.
So why send them to Henguru? The intention is not for them to be the best in their class at school but to make the whole process of learning easier. Imagine if you had a photographic memory and you could speed read – how much easier would it have been at school?
Some people have argued that if you make school too easy, kids get bored and become disruptive. In my opinion, the skills developed at Henguru does not necessarily mean school will be boring. There is too much in life to learn for anyone to know everything. Developing skills such as speed reading and a photographic memory just improves the tools they will have to learn with.
Secondly, if you have read the post on “The Inverse Power of Praise“, you may agree with me that the “smart” kids who are “bored and disruptive” in class are those that have been raised on the wrong kind of praise. They are the ones who have been led to believe that intelligence is finite and that making mistakes makes them look stupid. They are afraid of tackling problems that they could potentially fail at and therefore end up appearing “bored and disruptive” in class.
The classes at Henguru are designed from six months onwards so Gareth is currently too young for the program. However, it does give me enough time to evaluate the classes to determine whether it is worthwhile sending him. On the flip side, it was probably rather brave of me to sign Gavin up given his past history with mother-child classes. My only hope is that he’s much older now with school experience so hopefully he will be more attentive in these classes. If not, well, there’s always Gareth.
More about Henguru in the next post…